## Posts Tagged ‘wooden toys’

### How to estimate Value for Money in a Toy

Monday, May 20th, 2013

So here is an interesting thought when considering a big toy purchase.

How to you calculate value for money.

Is it their actual price ie is a 59.99 dollhouse better value than one at 134.95. Is it the relief from the ongoing pestering. Is it the beauty, cuteness or design.

As a parent and toyshop owner I reckon its cost per hour of play.

Let me explain my approach. We have a brood of 4 children. Ages 13 to 5 who have standard toy tastes.
Last week, as the 3 of them were jumping away on our 2 year old 14ft trampoline (yes we are bad parents allowing 3 in at the same time) - I got to wondering how much the trampoline costs per hour of play.

Three of them are in that trampoline at least 20 minutes each per day (now that the weather is drier) and 10 minutes during the winter.

If we call each season 180 days - then hours per season would look like this for Summer
180 X 3 X 20 mins or 180 hours of play
….and for winter
180 X 3 X 10 mins or 90 hours.
Together 270 hours per year.
Lets take in the 2nd year of play. Thats 540 hours of play.
A long lasting tough 14 foot Trampoline costs 490 from http://www.mimitoys.ie/category_20160_Trampolines.html - lets say 500.

So that works out at 92c per hour of play.

Do the same maths on a long lasting Dollhouse that we do eg The Deluxe Townhouse http://www.mimitoys.ie/product_5228_Kidkraft-Deluxe-Townhouse.html at 169.95
Thats a play environment normally for 1 child. Perhaps 15 minutes per day over 2 years. Thats 180 hours in total.
Which is Euro 1.05 per hour - cheapere in price but more expensive in cost per hour of play.

So if you have a few chislers then a toy that grabs everyones interest, makes the most value for money sense.
And a long lasting trampoline is one of the few toys that does grab the undivided attention of children.

### Trampoline Safety Info

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Mimitoys recently got a query on whether it is safer to sink trampolines into a hole in the ground than have them at normal height. On the face of it, it seems to make sense that the lower the trampoline, the lower the risk of injury from falling. When we put the question to TP Toys, however, we got a surprising response - sinking a trampoline so that the bounce mat is at ground level can be MORE dangerous than leaving it at normal height. Myles explains why:

Without a surround, injuries can be greater when the trampoline is sunk into the ground. Counterintuitive I know, but apparently when bouncing from ground level you become more reckless because you perceive the risk to be less - after all you are closer to the ground. This perception leads to more reckless bouncing, which means more landing off the bounce mat leading to a greater possibility of injury. Without a surround this can mean broken bones, whilst with a surround it can mean more ligament and tendon injuries than you would have with a normal elevated trampoline.

Mind the gap! Trampoline legs are wider at the base than at the frame - they splay out to give greater stability. Therefore there will be roughly a 12 inch gap between the edge of the hole and the outside edge of the bounce frame. That gap, if uncovered, is a hazard for adult and children’s legs.

Specific to our TP Trampolines, TP has stated that it assumes that any hole will not be drained and therefore will fill with water during wet periods, increasing the risk of rust damage to the trampoline. If the trampoline is sunk into the ground, the 10 year TP metal warranty (and all other warranties) becomes invalid.

Another safety issue that has been raised during discussions is the danger of children playing underneath the trampoline whilst someone is bouncing on it. I know it makes a great den, but please keep little ones out from underneath!

So, there you have it. TP’s advice seems to be - enjoy your trampoline but put the spades away unless you’re digging a new home for the goldfish!

For more trampoline safety tips, see the advice page on our website. We’d love to hear your opinions and tips to add to our info.

### Sand and Water Play

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Let’s be optimistic about the summer. Let’s pretend that April and May just swapped places to confuse us. In advance of the lovely summer we ARE going to have, Mimitoys has got together a range of Sand and Water Toys to get you thinking of recreating a bit of beach fun in the garden.

Water Fun - the most obvious place to play with water is in the bath and everyone always has great fun splashing in the tub and playing with their favourite bath toys. But what about changing the venue to somewhere where it doesn’t matter how much splashing goes on? In the garden they can still play with bath toys but they can add bigger toys or whatever they see around them. (Hide the cat.) They’ll have great fun discovering what floats or sinks, bathing their favourite dolls, sailing their boats, washing up their play teasets and, best fun of all, squirting anyone in range with squirty bath toys or empty shampoo/washing up bottles.

Making bubbles is also great fun outdoors where you don’t have to worry about slippery floors. Save yourself having to bathe them that evening by adding bath bubbles to a paddling pool and handing them a whisk!  A paddling pool like our TP Boat Sandpit is ideal for outdoor water play but great fun can also be had with only a washing up bowl on the grass!

Oh, and I know I don’t need to say this but I will anyway. Never leave your toddler on their own when playing with water.

Sand Fun -  We stock a variety of sandpits at Mimitoys and a lovely range of Sand Toys, but it’s important to use your imagination and look at the everyday things around you that can add to the fun. It really is worth getting sterilised play sand for your sandpit if you want your child to stay clean.

Sand play differs greatly depending on whether the sand is dry or wet. Think about what you can do with wet sand - build sand castles, write words and make patterns, draw pictures and decorate them with shells, leaves, etc. My kids love making sand landscapes with mountains, twig trees and roads and then adding trucks and little figures for great adventures.

Dry sand is less versatile, but very tactile as it runs through your fingers. Funnels and sand mills are great for younger kids. Give them containers of all shapes and sizes with a range of scoops and spoons for measuring games. Miniature treasure hunts are also popular - hide some favourite household items or toys in the sand for your toddler to find.

I should also add that outdoor sand and water playtime can be very relaxing for adults too -  little or nothing to clean up afterwards, and that therapeutic feeling of water and sand running through fingers isn’t just confined to children!

### Outdoor Toys

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Now that Mimitoys has extended its range of outdoor toys in time for a glorious (?) summer ahead, I have had lots of queries about which toys I would recommend most for family outdoor fun. Of course I think that all our range is fabulous - that’s why I picked it! - but I have a few favourites that I’ll share with you here.

From the deservedly popular TP Toys, I have to finally admit that I have caved in and am thinking of getting a TP Star Trampoline with Surround for my 3 older kids. I have held out for years, arguing safety, cost and size concerns, but the health, fitness and fun advantages have finally outweighed any issues I had. The new breed of trampolines like those from TP have sturdy, high surrounds and clever safety features that keep feet safe from springs. Of course, these are only of full benefit when adult supervision is applied liberally and only one person bounces at a time, but that’s not unreasonable! I also have high hopes of a new toned me when I start my own bounce routine…

Of course you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the kids outside. One of my family’s favourite toys is the Hand Catcherball. At €6.95, it’s probably not going to break the bank  but I promise you little kids love it! The TP Garden Games range also offers a nice selection of activities from seesaws to badminton/high jump sets, not to mention the ever popular Football Goal sets.

We have just started stocking one of my favourite outdoor toys: Swingball. I’m sure that it’s not just me who has fond memories of thwacking a tennis ball for hours on end in a sunny corner of the garden. Swingball also manufactures a useful range of junior basketball hoops that are compact and portable. Both swingball and basketball are obviously ideal for the garden, but are equally good for daytrips or holidays by car.

What we really need to have fun outside is, however, some good weather. We haven’t yet managed to find a reliable supplier for that, but when we do, you’ll find it first at Mimitoys!

### Educational toys

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I just had a request via Twitter (follow me @Mimistores) about small toys for pre-school fun and learning about abcs and numbers. I though that it would be a good opportunity to share some ideas with everyone and ask for other suggestions. Besides, I don’t like to restrict myself to 140 characters!

My favourite fun and educational pre-school toys are:

• Doowell Alphabet Animals - Magnetic animal shapes with corresponding letters
• Shapes and Numbers - A very simple wooden puzzle that will get little ones working things out
• Sorting and Teaching Clock from John Crane - A big, bright wooden clock
• Triangular Activity Centre from Big Jigs - With spinning blocks and an abacus, this toy is suitable right up to school age
• Fishies - A very simple linking game for the younger child to encourage colour recognition and counting
• Magnetic Blocks - Easy construction set for little ones
• Alphabet and Number Blocks - No home should be without them!
• Fantacolor Daisy - A chunky peg board and one of my favourite toys
• Djeco Wooden Puzzle - Shapes or Colours
• Magnetic Numbers and Letters
• 100 Wooden Blocks - So many ways to play and learn with these

These are just a few of my favourites. We have carefully thought about and picked all the toys stocked on www.Mimitoys.ie so it’s hard not to list every toy we have! If I have left off one of your favourites, or one you would recommend to other customers, please leave a comment.

### Top Up Toys

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

These are a selection of my favourite Top up Toys - ideal for presents for nieces or nephews, or as extra-special Santa treats. All are available from www.Mimitoys.ie where you’ll also find photos and more detailed descriptions.

For smaller stocking fillers, have a look at the ideas on http://tinyurl.com/Mimisstockings

You can also see photos on our Facebook page http://tinyurl.com/MimisFacebook

Daisy’s wardrobe - Daisy has such a cute pink wardrobe and loads of fashionable clothes, bags and hats….Sigh…we wish we were Daisy! Try on loads of different outfits and then tidy them all away into the pretty pink wardrobe. Make sure you hang the clothes up properly on the hangers! This toy combines three games that children love: dressing up, role play and playing with dolls. €12.95

Dragon hand puppet - A　good choice for boys’ tales of derring do and girls’ tales of princesses in peril.　Stories can be made up, told and retold using this soft to the touch hand puppet, keeping lively minds enthralled for hours. A beautiful hand puppet with vibrant colours. €16.95

Fairy hand puppet - Who can conjure up a fairy wonderland and make up a tale of magic and wishes? 　An original and fun way for children to develop their communication and language skills whilst putting on their own puppet show…or an engaging way for adults to tell stories to children. The Fiesta Crafts Fairy hand puppet has expressive embroidered features, pretty clothes, wool hair and a magic fairy wand for banishing evil witches. €16.95

Pirate hand puppet - Who can make up a tale of swashbuckling pirates? 　An original and fun way for children to develop their communication and language skills whilst putting on their own puppet show…or an engaging way for adults to tell the stories to children. The Fiesta Crafts Pirate hand puppet has expressive embroidered features, wool hair, fur beard and a fearsome looking detachable sword for running brigands through. €16.95

Frog Skittles - Line ‘em up and knock ‘em down. How can something so straightforward be so much fun? Small and lightweight, these little frogs are ideal for indoor play when the weather isn’t being kind, but can also be set up outside when it’s nice. Just remember to bring them back inside when you’ve finished. Contains 6 skittles and 4 differently coloured wooden balls.　€12.95

Large family calendar - Want to know what’s happening this week? Go check the calendar. For a family on the go, what better way to plan the week than a family calendar? With all the pieces you need to plan the week ahead, it’s ideal for keeping track of everybody’s busy lives. This is a great visual way to involve the children in planning the family’s week and there should be fewer arguments　about less popular tasks when they have been agreed in advance. €19.95

Shape sorter castle - An appealing wooden shape sorter with 9 coloured blocks. There is a sliding board on top which gives the younger ones a better chance to check if they have the right match without the pieces falling through too quickly. Because of the shape of this sorting toy I’m sure that it will used as a castle, garage and house for other toys as often as it is used as a sorter! €16.95

Magnetic Theatre - Children will love to act out their favourite stories with the help of the 15 adorable wooden characters in this beautiful magnetic theatre. They have everything they need to tell the tales of Cinderella, Pinocchio, Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Pigs, even the words! The wooden characters can be moved from under the stage using the magnetic wands and the backdrops for each of the 4 tales are included. €17.95

Mama K Aromatic Play Clay - This play clay combines aromatherapy and creativity. It feels great to play with, smells divine, and the fabulous colours are not day-glo! 100% natural, certified Gluten Free flours are used, as well as all natural dyes, but like all play clays - please don’t eat it! The tube of 5 individual 4oz pots have the following incredibly soothing scents: lavender (relaxing), sweet orange (uplifting), bergamot (ease anxiety), lemongrass (inspiring), geranium (balance). €29.95

### Top Christmas Toys for Older Kids

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Wondering what to buy older kids for Christmas? Have a look at this list for ideas, or use the Shop by Age filter on our home page www.Mimitoys.ie
What are my favourites? Either the Djeco Art Sets (represented here by the Art Nouveau set), or the Sticky Mosaics (see http://tinyurl.com/mimimosaics for our full range).

See our website for photos, or join us on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/MimisFacebook

Art Nouveau - Kids will love creating their own Klimt-like masterpiece with these detailed Art Nouveau cards. It’s very easy to produce beautiful pictures that they’ll be proud to hang on the wall. The detailed coloured booklet suggests which colours to use on the outlined cards, and how to decorate with stickers. The quality of the art materials is wonderful and the brush pens can be used for many other art projects once the pictures are complete. €22.95

Clics Turbo - Need some more vehicles for your garage? You’d better get building! With this Clics set, little ones can create 6 different Turbo models…or just build whatever they like! Clics are colourful plastic building blocks that click together to form a huge variety of models. Each piece clicks to another in loads of different ways to add extra flexibility. Produced in bite-proof, safe polypropylene, Clics are able to withstand prolonged use. €42.95

Draw a Fashion Show - Awaken your inner fashionista with this fabulous art set from DJECO. Your little designer adds clothing outlines to their model and then colours them in or adds patterned paper, before finishing it all off with a choice of accessories. The results will make lovely pictures because of the high quality paper and pens in the set. Everything can be stored in the pretty, sturdy box when not in use. €22.95

Horrid Henry - HENRY! Act out naughty scenes from your favourite Horrid Henry story with this gorgeous hand puppet. Or, even more fun, make up your own wicked adventures. Parents can also add real magic to bedtime stories by using this puppet when reading. Based on the books by Francesca Simon. €18.95

Perfect Peter - Ahhh, dear Perfect Peter - he never puts a foot wrong. Act out scenes from your favourite Horrid Henry story with this big hand puppet. A quality hand puppet that is based on the books by Francesca Simon. Perfect Peter will add magic to bedtime stories or will happily take part in any adventures children make up. €18.95

Moon in My Room - A unique bedroom decoration and an amazing educational toy. Moon in my Room is authentically detailed and projects an image of the moon, as it really is, with twelve different moon phase settings. The Moon phases can be automatically or manually controlled by the infrared remote control. This 28cm moon is easy to hang and auto shuts off. Also included is a 15min audio CD which provides a guided tour of the moon. €36.95

Sew a Puppy - This craft set is a great way to introduce kids to sewing. Sew an adorable puppy in printed cotton. Simply cut out and stitch together the fabric pieces using running stitch or back stitch.  Fill with stuffing then create a pink felt flower to decorate your pup.  Includes a paper pattern to make more puppies from recycled fabrics, so you can make your own litter of cute pups! €15.95

Star Theatre - Turn your bedroom into a real planetarium! Watch as hundreds of stars and constellations are projected on your ceiling and walls. Set to season, month, day and hour and tour the night sky guided by the 45min CD. Extra features are the hand-held Meteor Maker that projects streaking comets and meteors. The Star Sphere also detaches for use outdoors as a 3-D star finder and has a directional built-in compass on base. €36.95

Sticky Mosaics Ballerina - Add sparkles and stickers to these 4 beautiful ballerina designs….what little girl wouldn’t be enchanted? Add the sticky pieces to the numbered cards and create 4 beautiful pictures to hang in her bedroom. With 5 sparkling designs and hangers and more than 2400 sticky jewel and foam mosaic pieces, this mosaic set provides hours of creative fun. €18.95

### Top Girls’ Toys for Christmas

Monday, November 15th, 2010

And now it’s the girls’ turn! This is a list of my top picks for girls’ Christmas pressies in 2010. It wouldn’t be a list of favourites without the stunning Mayberry Manor - every little girl’s dream doll house. All available from www.Mimitoys.ie

For photos, see our website, or join us on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/MimisFacebook

Baking set
Invite your friends to afternoon tea! After you have mixed and rolled, decorated your cupcakes, sliced your swiss roll and arranged it all prettily on your cake stand it’s finally time for that well earned cup of tea. A gorgeous wooden play set that includes food mixer with rotating whisk, rolling pin, knife and baking tray, apron and assortment of cakes with stand. €49.95
Breakfast puzzle
Is it your turn to have breakfast in bed? This big wooden breakfast tray is a lift out puzzle where each item can be placed according to its shape. The breakfast pieces can also be used separately for kitchen pretend play. It’s always good to find a product that’s 2 toys in 1! €12.95
Calypso kitchen range
Children find the stylish range of Calypso play kitchen equipment very appealing. The bright colours and the no-nonsense styling of the wooden microwave, fridge freezer, sink, cooker and washing machine seem to inspire great role play imagination. Sturdy and great fun. All items available separately Microwave €39.95, Sink €89.95, Cooker €89.95, Washing machine €89.95, fridge freezer €114.95
Doll cradle
This is a sweet rocking cradle that will appeal to any little girl who sees life through rose tinted spectacles. Rock a bye baby in the pretty cradle with comfy bedding included…in pink of course! This doll’s cradle is fit for a princess and suitable for any doll up to 43cm. €29.95
Dolls high chair
Little girls usually love girly things, and you can’t get much girlier than this sweet doll’s high chair! The sturdy wooden high chair has a pretty seat back in the shape of a heart. Doll not included, but most little girls will have no trouble finding a hungry doll to feed. €29.95
Mayberry Manor
The Le Toy Van range of dolls houses is well known for its high quality workmanship, but it is the attention to detail that really appeals. The 3 storeys, 2 staircases and elegant bay windows of Mayberry Manor really add to its sense of grandeur and will stimulate some wonderful stories. It comes beautifully painted in soft colours inside and out, has its own garden and will be a favourite for years to come – a real heirloom piece. Characters and Furniture available separately. €119.95
My vanity case
For little girls on the go! This is a lovely set with good quality accessories that will bring loads of fun. Think of the fun they will have packing everything back into the pretty little case when they have finished! Contains all you need to keep up appearances, with hairbrush, mirror, pretend lipstick, powder flask, perfume bottle, two hair slides, two rings and a bracelet. €24.95
Silver Shopping Trolley
Realistic toys like this cute Shopping Trolley provide so much inspiration for role playing - just like mammy and daddy at the supermarket. Tantrums in the sweet aisle are optional. With a special seat for Teddy to come along too. €24.95
Tea set
Tea time! Who are you going to invite to share your strawberry themed tea party? This Honeybake tea set has all the charm we expect from Le Toy Van, as well as all the little details that add to the role play fun. 12 piece painted wooden strawberry tea-set complete with cups and saucers, tea-pot and tea bag, milk jug, fabric cake and sturdy portable tea tray. €26.95

### TV Fame

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

I had a very exciting day yesterday.

Mimitoys has been selected to be the first Irish toy retailer to present one of its toys on the RTE1 TV shopping programme, Shopping From Home.

Yesterday I went over to film what will be a 5 minute piece on the Mayberry Manor Value Pack.

See it at http://tinyurl.com/mimismayberry

Shopping from Home is headed by the Kathy Hoffman who started airing her TV shopping programme in February of this year.  She is such an enthusiastic and positive person to be around, she made me feel very relaxed and we had the filming done within 3 hours - I thought we’d be there for the full day.

We arrived at 8.30am to a real home environment, as in everyone chatty and friendly with loads of cups of tea being offered.

I really enjoyed the day, despite a nervous start in front of the two camera people and sound person. They were so professional and reassuring - I had emailed them about the features of the dollhouse and when I arrived I found my email turned into a 95% finished script prepared by their production team. It all went smoothly with the exception of stopping the filming at one stage to wait for a noisy street sweeping machine to pass.

Kathy was an official nominee for the 2008-2009 IFTA awards and prides herself on how Shopping From Home proudly supports Irish operations in Ireland.

Our 5 minute slot goes out within the Shopping from Home programme that will air for the full month of December anytime between 7am-8.30am on Rte1 (depending on schedules.)

Please try and catch it - if only to admire my beautifully manicured nails and professionally applied make up…alas now long gone!  www.mimitoys.ie

### Top Boys’ Toys for Christmas

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Here is a list of favourite boys’ toys to help you make your Santa list this year. The new Pedal Train and Coal Truck are my favourites and are obviously great for girls as well as boys. For photos, see our website, or join us on Facebook. All toys are available from www.Mimitoys.ie

Carpenter’s Belt - Now even 2 year old carpenters can wear their tool belt with pride. A full set of wooden tools that can be carried around in a belt. Great to introduce early role play- little ones will be so proud to have such grown up tools. €12.95
Cottage Farm - This big portable wooden toy is half farm and half cottage with all the role play fun offered by both scenarios. Easily carried, the busy farm includes animals, tractor and trailer, wheelbarrow and loads of house accessories to keep their imaginations fired up. €79.95
Debut Scooter - Now you can zoom around in style with this ultra cool wooden Debut Scooter. It has 3 non slip wheels to keep you on track both inside the house or outside in the garden. Simple, safe and stunning for kids over 3 years. €49.95
Fire Engine and Fire Fighters - 999 emergency! Who is going to save us from the fire raging behind the sofa? Here come our heroes screeching around the side of the chair in their big wooden fire engine with all the equipment they need to douse the flames. Wonderful role play fun with this bright wooden fire engine,　cute firefighters　and their realistic accessories. Fire Engine and Fire Fighters sold separately, Fire engine €46.95, fire fighters €24.95
Police Van Set - Hello, ‘ello, ‘ello! What’s going on here then? I think it’s obvious that someone’s going to get nicked. The police man has his wooden truncheon at the ready, whilst the robber could have made more of an effort to hide his burglary tools! Painted wooden police van with hinged doors includes posable policeman and robber Budkins. €39.95
Transport Train Set (124 pieces) - How do you want to travel today? Catch a Hi- Speed Train at the station. If that’s too fast, what about a slower ride on the local line? If you want to go by car to the airport to watch the planes and helicopters don’t forget to fill up at the petrol station before you go. This 124 piece wooden train set also includes brightly coloured houses, buildings, people, tunnel, trees, and vehicles. €84.95
Coal Truck - All aboard and join in the fun with this Little Play Train Coal Truck! This superbly designed pedal powered coal truck has a storage compartment, electronic sounds and brakes. It has automatic freewheeling so the pedals stay still even when the train keeps moving. Great for children to enjoy outdoor interactive and imaginative role-play. Can be used on its own or with the little play train pedal steam engine. €179.95
Pedal Train - All aboard and join in the fun with the Little Play Train Steam Engine! This superbly designed pedal powered steam engine has a working headlight, electronic sounds and brakes .It has automatic freewheeling so the pedals stay still even when the train keeps moving. Great for getting kids active outdoors and engaging in interactive imaginative role-play. A Coal Truck that can be attached to the train is available separately. €189.95